It is our pleasure to write this first letter from Moosilauke for the first week of Second Session 2015, July 27th to August 1st. As is our tradition, we will send an electronic letter home each week to make sure you know about all the activities, special events, and trips that make up the Moose Experience. You can view pictures from the summer (and even buy prints) by clicking on http://campmoosilaukephotos.
Our Opening Day was hot and beautiful. Campers excitedly arrived on campus from 17 states and 3 countries. The afternoon was spent getting the campers unpacked and checked in with the nursing staff, and the new parents had an orientation meeting with Bill to discuss everything from the camp’s philosophy to brass tack issues like communications and homesickness. Once all the parents left the fun began. It started with the whole Camp coming together for a few jokes courtesy of some brave campers and then our traditional game of “Bill Says” (a Moose version of “Simon Says”). Par for the course, over half the campers (and staff) were “out” within the first thirty seconds. Next, Moosilauke Big Brothers were paired up with their Camp Little Brothers for a tour and orientation talk that covered: writing home and incoming mail; what to keep in the locker room; the daily schedule; cabin inspection; and dining hall procedures and traditions. Dinner was our traditional opening night hamburger fest (“Moose burgers”), fries, salad bar, and ice cream sandwiches. Then it was time for a Moose trivia contest between two teams of Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds). Evening activities included “ice breaker” games on the fields, followed by wacky counselor introductions by activity area in the dining hall (due to a pending rainstorm). The night ended with each cabin holding a meeting where they codified the “rules of the house” for living together.
Tuesday’s breakfast was pancakes, yogurt and fruit bar, and hot and cold cereal. After breakfast, Bill gave his annual talk about how to stay safe if there is lightning. The camp then discussed the morning schedule and then it was time for the news of the world with an emphasis on US sports scores. After that campers were off to their first cabin cleanup and then three morning instructional periods that included swim tests. Our first trip of the session left Tuesday for a day of top rope rock climbing at the crags in Rumney, NH. It was an all ages voluntary trip. Lunch was sloppy joes, french fries, salad bar (with spicy chicken and pasta salad), and beef noodle soup. After lunch, Ken provided a brief overview of competition at Moose and the different scoreboards. The boys heard that at Moose, the actual score (the 1st scoreboard) is not all that matters; the 2nd scoreboard which tracks effort and sportsmanship is the real measure of success. And of course there was reference to the all important 3rd scoreboard–best hair! Todd then introduced his famous “Brother-not a Brother” segment. He brought up real brothers – twins actually – and compared them to two non-brothers (same age) who look alike. You can guess which pair received the biggest applause. Our first inter-camp competition also took place Tuesday afternoon with a 12s soccer tournament at Moose, and 15s basketball and 13s baseball at neighboring camps. Afternoon snack (between 4th and 5th periods) was a most welcome ice-cold fruit popsicle. Dinner was the perennial favorite “Taco Tuesday” – soft tacos, cilantro rice, and all of the fixings! Evening activities included fishing, tubing, dodgeball, wiffleball, handball, all followed by a camp wide swim given the heat.
Wednesday dawned on a raucous note as over 60 campers and counselors took part in our pre-breakfast Moose Bears swim club. (See photo on Facebook!) Believe it or not, close to half of your kids are voluntarily going for a swim in the lake at 7:45am in the morning (at least for the first few days!). And what a swim it is: along with a quick dip, they dance, chant and sing. All new campers were given their first “car wash” (ask your kids). Campers who participate in Moose Bears each morning are rewarded with a Moose Bears t-shirt at the end of the session. Breakfast was delicious homemade muffins, yogurt and fruit bar, hot and cold cereal, and hot chocolate. Trips on Wednesday included a two day backpacking adventure in the Presidential Range for a group of six Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds). The first day the boys covered a total of 4.7 miles as they hiked up the Liberty Springs trail, set up camp, and then continued up to the top of Mt. Liberty where they saw a beautiful sunset. Dinner was delicious steamed veggies and pasta. The next day, after a breakfast of hot cereal, the boys summited Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette before heading down the Green Leaf trail. There was plenty of trail mix and jerky treats for the boys to keep them energized throughout the hike. The group was rewarded for all their hard work with a pizza dinner at Elvio’s in Woodstock. Another group of Senior Bs went on a biking expedition to the Wentworth Waterhole (ten miles round trip with a steep hill on the return). Half of our Inter As (twelve-year-olds) went on a day-long canoeing adventure on the Connecticut River to Hanover and were treated with pizza and a viewing of the movie “Inside Out.” After lunch, the oldest two age groups, the Senior A1s (fifteen-year-olds) and Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds) swam at Baker Cliffs and ate ice cream at Moose Scoops.
Thursday started out warm and sunny, then intermittent rain came in the afternoon. Meals included pancakes for breakfast, grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch, and chicken teriyaki and rice for dinner. Trips on Thursday included a second group of Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) venturing on a two-day overnight hike up Mt. Lafayette. For most of the boys, it was their first experience doing an overnight mountain backpacking trip. Food on the trip included oatmeal and granola for breakfast, tuna wraps and peanut butter and honey sandwiches for lunch, sausage and couscous for dinner, and plenty of trail mix for snacking. The other half of Inter As (twelve-year-olds) headed out on a day-long canoeing adventure on the Connecticut River to Hanover. Due to bad weather, they unfortunately had to be picked up two miles shy of their destination. They were then caravaned to Hanover for a night of pizza and a movie. The Junior As (ten-year-olds) ventured to Hobo Hills for mini-golf and then to the natural water slides and pools at Cascade Park, and the Junior Bs (eight-and nine-year-olds) went to Lost River for a hike through caves and caverns, followed by a stop at Moose Scoops ice cream. (One camper described the ice cream as a “taste of heaven.”) Those at Camp in the afternoon stayed indoors and played board games, foosball and ping pong in the rec hall, and card games, Bingo, and arts and crafts activities in the dining hall. The time indoors was a nice, relaxing break from what has been two very hot and humid days. Our 12s baseball game was cancelled in the afternoon due to the weather; however, the 14s basketball tournament at a neighboring camp was a go. The weather cleared for the evening, so campers were back outdoors for a variety of games and activities. Port told his first “tall-tale” ghost story in the evening around a beach campfire that focused on the mythical “White Ape.” A final highlight was Todd introducing the first “Trick of the Day” to the campers which featured magical cups.
Friday dawned foggy but turned into a sunny, warm day with temperatures in the mid-70s. One of the more interesting activities Friday was the “orienteering racing” undertaken as part of our Backcountry Leadership Program. Campers learned how to read the topography on a map and how to navigate with a compass. Once they mastered these skills they took part in an orienteering race which involved finding specific spots on campus via coordinates and bearings. Competition on Friday included a 10s baseball game, a 12s basketball tournament, and a 15s Ultimate Frisbee tournament. The Inter Bs (eleven-year-olds) ventured to the natural water slides of Baker Cliffs and ice cream at Moose Scoops in the afternoon. The Senior A2s (fourteen-year-olds), Counselors-in-training, and the Junior Counselors enjoyed a “fluff” trip to a water park and then a Manchester Fisher Cats minor league baseball game. Friday also saw another group of Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) taking part in a bike adventure to the Water Hole. The most exciting trip of the day entailed a small group of campers of all ages taking their first white water kayaking trip. The boys practiced ferrying into eddies, riding wave trains, and practicing their wet exits and rolls in the class II water at the Hartland Rapids on the Connecticut River. Friday’s dinner was a camper favorite: Kenny Cook-out down on the field featuring grilled chicken and sausages. Evening activities included tubing, fishing, a ping pong tournament, a canoe/stand-up paddle board extravaganza, and dodgeball.
Precipitation was in the forecast Saturday but we got through a full day with no rain. The big event Saturday was the hike up Mt. Cube by all new campers (not on another hiking trip), a volunteer group of returning campers, Bill, Todd, and the entire Backcountry Leadership staff. Nearly fifty campers and counselors climbed the 2-mile Cross Rivendell trail up the backside of Cube and the half-mile trail from the South summit to the North summit. Once on the North summit the boys had their lunch of Uncrustables, turkey and cheese sandwiches, granola, candy, and apples. For the return journey more than half the campers opted for the longer trail (3.5 miles) that takes the boys on the Appalachian Trail all the way back to Camp. We also had competition on Saturday: 15s Dodgeball, 12s baseball, and 13s soccer. Late morning another group of Senior Bs (thirteen-year-olds) biked to the Water Hole. As is tradition, Saturday night was the camper favorite pizza fest. Evening activities included movies in both rec halls (with popcorn freshly made by the CITs), tubing, fishing, and street hockey.
That’s all for now. Please do not hesitate to call Bill or Sabina if you have questions. We will write again in a week. And details for departure day, August 12th, will be sent in a separate email.
Bill, Sabina, Port, Heide, Ken, and Ingrid